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Family Tradition Ignites Student’s Journey

March 23, 2020

“If you love what you do, it’s not a job,” said Fire Protection Technician student Whitney Gerber. “I don't think the passion will ever go away for me to go on a call or to help people.” Whitney grew up in a house of firefighters and became curious about fire science at a young age. Now it is her turn to become the next firefighter in the family.

Whitney started her college career at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater studying education. Changing programs and colleges was not a decision she made lightly. “It was hard to say good-bye to that but the change has helped me grow as a person.”

Her journey has not been without other challenges. Whitney is pursuing her degree full-time while balancing three jobs. She says the temporary lack of sleep and stress will be worth it in the end.

“Blackhawk has helped me. Instead of just wishing for my dream job, I actually get to pursue a degree that will help me reach my goal easier,” said Whitney.

“I really enjoy the closeness we have within our program. A lot of us are friends outside of class, and it really helps. and makes it a lot of fun knowing our instructor wishes to see every single one of us succeed that he is willing to meet with anyone outside of class.”

After her studies at Blackhawk, she hopes to get hired onto a department full-time and start living her dream.

Her instructors have no doubt that she will achieve her goals. “Whitney comes from a family of Firefighters, so it is in her blood. After she completed a year at a university she wanted to try something different. She's a great student, a very hard worker and will complete our program early,” said Blackhawk Fire Science Instructor Eric Moe.

Whitney added, “I've always wanted to give back my community and to other people that have helped me along the way.”

She offered this advice for others considering a career in fire protection. “It is a lot of hard work. You will have to study and prepare for state tests. It is a long road in two short years, but one with a great payoff in the end.”

For more information about the Fire Protection Program at Blackhawk Technical College visit

Listen to Whitney Gerber talk about her experience in the Fire Protection Technician program:

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